After being praised for years as an investor-friendly alternative to expensive active funds, index funds and their providers have recently come under greater criticism. There is talk of systemic risks, but also of a lack of exercise of shareholder rights (“commitment”). We have to get to grips with this, because after all the major providers have expanded their “commitment” in recent months. In the meantime, there are 30 employees”who visit around 1000 companies every year,” said Vanguard boss Tim Buckley in an interview a few days ago. Blackrock also wants to become more involved, as Germany Chairman Friedrich Merz confirmed almost at the same time.
Why public discourse is so important
Lip service? We believe: no. After all, index funds cannot throw out stocks – pressing for good corporate governance is therefore their most important yield leverage. And since they are naturally involved in the long term, there is a good chance that they will also think in the long term. They could therefore be optimal shareholders – if, yes, if they were not only talking to board members behind closed doors, but also promoting public discourse on concrete governance problems (as, for example, Ingo Speich of Union Investment does). We are convinced that optimal solutions for the respective company can only be found in the constructive discourse of the stakeholders. Who avoids it, fuels the suspicion that it believes to know everything better or wants to assert brutally own interests. This is water on the mills of conspiracy theorists who smell the fiddling of the economic and financial”elites”.